British Esports clears the air on its Saudi Esports partnership. The firm has come out to say that it wants “to represent all identities and backgrounds” following the controversy surrounding its partnership with Saudi Esports. The company further said that “inclusivity is fundamental for the growth of esports globally.”
British Esports Saudi Esports Partnership
British Esports, which is a not-for-profit national body which in question promotes esports in the United Kingdom, has just released a new statement addressing “questions and concerns” raised over its said partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation, which was reportedly announced in the early parts of this week.
On Monday the 9th of October, British Esports stated that it was “thrilled to announce our historic partnership agreement with the Saudi Esports Federation” a partnership which the body stated, “underscores the commitment of both federations to fostering international cooperation and growth within the esports industry and heralds an exciting era of opportunity, investment and development”.
However, as reported by Eurogamer, people were quick to share their concerns online, namely due to the implications of the partnership for women and the LGBTQ+ community. In Saudi Arabia, same-sex sexual activity still remains very much illegal to this day.
User Reactions to the Announcement
“You have an award-winning initiative for inclusivity in gaming – [Women in Esports], made a point in July that Pride ‘isn’t just for a month’ or a ‘marketing ploy’, and in one ‘historic’ partnership it’s been shoved back in their faces of the communities you claim to support?” a Twitter user reportedly questioned when the partnership was announced.
“I thought true inclusivity went far beyond surface-level representation and involved creating spaces where LGBTQ+ voices are valued, heard, and empowered every day of the year[,] but I guess October 9 is Pride cheat day,” another user on X commented.
British Esports Statement on the Matter
In its latest statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), British Esports reportedly clarified that it has not “received any monetary contributions of any kind” from the said partnership, as it “is not a commercial agreement or sponsorship”. Furthermore, the body stated that “inclusivity is fundamental for the growth of esports globally”, and that it “will continue to lead by example through our communities”.
“We also want to reaffirm our belief that every individual, regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, should be able to participate and thrive in the esports industry and this has not changed and will not change,” the statement in question reads.
“We recognize that truly embracing diversity and inclusivity means being ready to tackle challenges head-on and part of that commitment is a willingness to engage in dialogue that positively shapes and influences change,” it continues. “We want to represent all identities and backgrounds and we can’t do this alone. British Esports being part of the discussion enables a line of communication for all parties to share their values, learn, and develop together.”
British Esports Says That It Strongly Believes “In the Power of Dialogue”
Furthermore, acknowledging the “many cultural differences around the world”, British Esports revealed that it strongly believes “in the power of dialogue to overcome these challenges”. It however has not indicated a desire to end its partnership with Saudi Esports, the organisation which as you should know has several members of the Saudi royal family on its board.
Saudi Arabia just recently made global headlines after several reports came out of 100 people being executed in the country already this year alone. Dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018, was reportedly murdered, with a couple of reports and even a CIA investigation suggesting that the assassination was ordered by Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the crown prince of the Middle Eastern country.
British Esports, however, concluded its message by stating that the feedback of the community is “invaluable”, and that “we wholeheartedly encourage an open and constructive conversation”.
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